Russian International Women’s Day
Dear PASSPORT reader, if you are reading this article, you have found yourself in Russia, getting involved in the most untypical men’s activity of trying to prove to themselves their capability of being real gentlemen in front of women.
The initiators of such male torture were the German Socialist Clara Zetkin and a Soviet Bolshevik Alexandra Kollontai, the leaders of a women’s civil rights campaign in 1910.
The International Women’s Day is a celebration that unites Russian women with countries such as: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Laos, Madagascar, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, Uganda, Ukraine, Vietnam and Zambia as their official holiday.
Demonstrations marking International Women’s Day in Russia were the first stage of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Be this as it may, the 8th of March is associated with men’s adoration of women’s magnetic charm, tenderness, caring loyalty and blooming beauty. In Russia all living men (including foreigners) are duty bound to express their warm feelings to all living women, with no exceptions. Failure could result in a sudden reduction of life expectancy. Men buy flowers , post cards and offer sweets to save their skins.
But what do ex-pat men really think? Here are a selection of ex-pat opinions:
American CEO, wise old business wolf, playboy, helpful friend: “Another holiday. Girls get drunk and become easy sex.”
Belgian family man. ”Standing in line in any flower shop on March 8 comes close to suicide: prices are sky-high, the sales girls feel pity for all men and continuously lecture them, women “investigate” your selection: too few flowers, the wrong colours, not very tasteful packaging, etc.
Not to congratulate my mother-in-law would imply a curse for at least a year. Gifts, cards, sweets, flowers. But no way to give her a “funny” March 8 card, Women’s Day is serious...”
American newspaperman: “I think holidays are things that grown-ups cling to in order to have contact with their youth. That’s good. But as an American I don’t have a connection to Women’s Day.”
What do Russian men have to say?
Film and Asset Manager (answering from London): off with a feeling of duty to be nice and congratulate surrounding females? Senseless, the same as February 23.“
Marketing Director (harasses women around him and arranges the best 8th of March parties): “8th of March is special. As all holidays, it is conventional. What’s important is that we, the men, make this day.”
Development Director, classy: “I congratulate women close to me but I’d rather do it on the day of pious women which is a better example for women’s ideology.”
And the Russian ladies?
Lawyer, a carrier of a constant charming smile: “I like all holidays whatever their original idea. The 8th of March is bunches of fragrant yellow mimosas, slightly drunk and happy women, silly congratulations, blah blah stuff.”
Wine Dealer, the longest braid at school: “Unnerves me, brings undue expectations.”
Siberian “Whitney Huston”: “’This day is me!’ I say to my Husband.”’
Pretty CFO, family life dreamer: “May I not answer? Loads of work.”
Beauty salon owner, ex model: “Girls do anything to be admired, especially on March 8!”
A babushka: “Reminds me of the huge effort women made during the Second World War.”
Lipstick consumer, 8 y.o.: “Good day! A party!”
In 1969 my Dad, a Soviet Moscow student in love with my Mom, a Soviet Moscow student, got her an impossible-to-find mimosa for the 8th of March in advance and tried to keep it fresh in the fridge. When taken out of the fridge and given to my Mom, it turned brown. That sick mimosa was planted in my Mom’s heart. I guess it did recover because I was born yellowish.
What is it for me? Waking up from the exhausting winter and my Dad’s flowers which would find me in any spot on earth on the 8th of March… It is part of me.